Stories of Inspiration: Donlen Employees Give Back

Corporate social responsibility: we hear that phrase a lot lately. But what does it really mean? For Donlen and its more than 250 employees, it means giving back to the community without expecting anything in return. FridayFleet sat down with three of Donlen’s unsung heroes – but not without quite a bit of coaxing on our part first! Three short stories…three stories of inspiration…

“Your hands are doing what ours can’t.” That’s what was written on the note inside the gloves that were sent to first responders of 9/11 from a Boy Scout troop more than 700 miles away.

Brad Carlson, Car and Truck Advisor, has been involved in Boy Scouts for more than 45 years. Starting as a Boy Scout in his youth, Brad is now Scout Master for troop 677 in Gurnee, Illinois.

When asked why he has remained active with the Boy Scouts almost his entire life, Brad says simply, “The activities we do, whether building a bed for a kid that doesn’t have one, or helping neighborhood senior citizens with chores, give back to our community. That’s what we’re about: helpful service.”

Brad recounts their regular monthly meeting right after 9/11. They had a different agenda planned, but that changed. “I said to the troop, ‘We’re going to put our stuff aside and see what we can do for America.’ That’s when the idea for sending work gloves to the first responders was born.” Brad and his troop collected more than 2,000 pairs of work gloves, contacted a New York troop to help get the gloves to Ground Zero, and sent them on their way – each pair with a note tucked inside that said: Your hands are doing what ours can’t. “We wanted to let first responders know that we were supporting them,” said Brad.

Recently, Brad was the recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for leadership, not only for his 9/11 initiative, but for the many ways that he inspires his troop to help in the community. And it was fitting that he was presented the award by a 9/11 first responder. “I was so honored to meet someone who was there,” said Brad. “This project came full circle for me.”

“I get so emotional talking about this,” said Karyn Horvath. Karyn, Receptionist, was referring to her son who was recently deployed to Afghanistan, where he will remain for the next nine months.

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Karyn is part of Donlen’s Corporate Social Committee, and has participated in many of the group’s activities, including visits to Ronald McDonald House and creating birthday bags of goodies for the local food pantry. When she heard that they were planning to create care packages to send to troops in Afghanistan, she jumped at the chance to participate.

“We were putting together these care packages with razors, deodorant, soup cups, Jello, water, and the whole time I’m thinking how important it is when the troops get a box to open,” she said.

She talks about how her perspective has changed since her son left. “This may not get to my son, but it’s going to someone’s son or daughter. I look at things differently now. It hits home. I know he would be very grateful to get a care package like that.”

“I’m so blessed to work at a place where people care and help the community,” Karyn said. “I’ve never worked at a company with such caring people.”

You’d never know it to look at her, but Karyn is about to become a grandmother – to twin baby girls. “My daughter in-law is due in June. We’ve got it all set up so my son will be able to see the babies via Skype. I’m so excited, but sad that he can’t be here.”

“The sacrifices they make is incredible,” she said. “I’m happy I could help someone’s son or daughter.”

“The soup kitchen is not what I anticipated. It’s a very prideful atmosphere.” Those are the words of Kimberly Reese, Accounts Payable Manager, who recently worked at a soup kitchen located in Chicago.

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Kim has been part of Donlen’s Social Corporate Responsibility committee for several years. This is her third year helping out at the soup kitchen, and this year, she was checking in bags as people came in. “Sometimes people have luggage or bags with them if they are homeless. They carry everything with them.”

“It makes me proud to work at a company that recognizes social difficulties and wants to help,” she said.

Other volunteers act as servers. Upon entering, guests sit and are served “a very good meal” according to Kim. “There are people there of all ages, from babies to senior citizens. The day I was there, we served about 200 people.” After the meal, volunteers stay to clean up.

“It’s inspiring to be there,” she reflected. “You never know when times can change; you may be that person one day.”


Driver’s Corner

Did you know that volunteering not only helps your community but can make you a happier person? Ninety-eight percent of respondents in a recent study said that “volunteering makes them a happier person.” Volunteering is a great way to meet people, keep active, and develop new contacts too. So, get out there, and be happy!


And Finally…

And finally, if you know someone returning from military service that may be looking for a job, Hertz announced this week its new military hiring portal, http://hertz.jobs/military/. “At Hertz, we believe the only long-term, sustainable competitive advantage is a company’s culture which is shaped by its people. We are building a culture based on many of the values promoted by the military – leadership, teamwork, planning, execution, hard work, and the drive to succeed,” commented Mark P. Frissora, Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As a company we appreciate that our veterans transitioning to civilian careers will be great frontline employees and managers for Hertz, and they will help shape our culture.” We’re proud to be part of a company that thinks – and acts – this way.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on May 11, 2012


About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (www.donlen.com), with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”